Somewhat Random – Is the Wii U Price Appropriate?

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Nintendo has finally announced both the release date, and price for its Wii U Console. It didn’t really surprise anyone when Nintendo revealed that the Wii U will launch on November 18, but they did surprise with the announcement of two SKUs. Gamers can either buy the Wii U Basic Set for $299.99, or the Wii U Deluxe Set for $349.99. Gamers were predicting that Nintendo would set the Wii U price at around the $300 mark, so the pricing was generally accepted by most. At least by most that populate my Twitter feed.

There’s already been a ton of discussion on whether or not these prices are too high, so I don’t know what I could add that hasn’t already been discussed. Instead, I decided to approach the issue in a different manner. So I asked myself, is the Wii U price appropriate? My answer has to be yes.

I was thinking about it earlier today and came up with two reasons that the Wii U price is appropriate. The first reason is that I believe the pricing will help differentiate the new console from the Wii.

As we all remember, Nintendo shocked everyone back in 2006 with its rather low price of $249.99 for the Wii, or $279.99 if you were in Canada at the time, damn loonie. Immediately, I believe that the average consumer will look at the Wii U, see the $300 price tag and compare it to the price of the Wii. What could that comparison actually tell them? Well, I believe it will help with the realization that this is a new, more technically advanced Wii console from Nintendo.

This is pure speculation on my part, but it is how I would perceive the item not knowing otherwise. I’m no expert on consumer behaviour (and I don’t claim to be), but I do believe that pricing the console this way could help consumers with their purchase this holiday season. Though, I also believe that some children will wake up Christmas Morning expecting a Wii U, but receiving a Wii due to consumer confusion created by Nintendo; my future self is already heartbroken for them.

I mentioned that I had two reasons, right? OK, so my second argument gets away from the average consumer and focuses on the gamer. Though, perception plays a big role here as well.

When I say gamer, I actually mean those that don’t consider Nintendo’s efforts to be next gen. I’m not attacking anyone, and I would agree with them on several points, but what exactly is a next generation console? Does it have tons of power, big hard drives, HD graphics, and amazing online functionality? Yes, and probably more. A console generation is also a period of time in which consoles are released alongside one another, or otherwise known as competition. X-Box 360, PS3, and yes the Wii, were all released between 2005 and 2012. I would consider this to be the period of time for that particular generation. This is going somewhere, I promise.

Nintendo has struggled with image for a long time now and the general perception is that Nintendo consoles are not next-gen, despite being released during a the same era of other next-gen consoles. Reasons for this perception could include Nintendo’s characters, lack of willingness to go HD, or improving their online approach. Though, realistically, none of that can be said this time around. Wii U supports 1080p, has mature third party games coming, and promises an innovative social network and improved online services. While it’s easy to see that Wii U is next-gen, not everyone will see it that way. This is where the price comes in again.

Pricing the console at $300+ may help with the perception that you are buying into the next generation of consoles. Die hard Nintendo fans are sold, but what about the other audience that Nintendo is trying to obtain? Maybe some of them will see the higher price point and think to themselves; this really is a next-gen console. Not exactly a strong argument, but may be one way that Nintendo is trying to shatter their current image.

Am I on to something here? Or am I just speaking out of my derriere? This article is meant to be a recap of my personal thoughts, but I’m curious to see if anyone has thought of something similar. These type of articles don’t tend to be my strong point, but I thought I’d let this one loose anyway. Please leave your thoughts on the Wii U price, my article, or whatever you feel like leaving in the comments below.

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  • superphillip32

    I think this article is at an appropriate time, so I don’t find it random at all.

    I long for a time where generations aren’t measured by many as just more power. Instead, I’d love to see the criteria based on new controllers, new features, and things of that nature.

    As for the price, I really have no idea what is and isn’t appropriate. I would imagine the market will dictate whether the price is right for Nintendo’s new console. That doesn’t mean people can’t try to change my mind. I’m just ignorant when it comes to how much chips and the guts inside a console or whatnot are worth.

    • http://twitter.com/MiniFortress Mini Fortress

      I’m sure someone will come along and do a piece on what the pieces inside cost. I believe the controller is the most expensive part, but I’m also ignorant on this matter.

      Price can be dictated by the market, which is what happened last year with the 3DS. The sales didn’t meet expectations, so they had to do something. Supply and demand may play a big part here, as I think most will pay whatever price at launch because they want the console. When the other next generation consoles arrive, Nintendo may drop the price to adjust to the market and stay competitive.

      Now I remember why I struggled with economics lol.

  • http://coffeewithgames.com/ coffeewithgames

    “Though, I also believe that some children will wake up Christmas Morning expecting a Wii U, but receiving a Wii due to consumer confusion created by Nintendo; my future self is already heartbroken for them.”

    Being that I have dealt with “consumers” for over the last several years, this will likely happen. Not only does it seem that the majority of consumers not research, they can’t even remember what they came to the store for.

    With Sony introducing the new PS3 Slim model last night, I think it will be interesting to see how they advertise the PS3 this holiday season, and if that affects the Wii U in any fashion.

    Mrs. Coffee asked me if the Wii U has a Blu-Ray player in it, like our PS3, and I told her no…and she found it odd.

    I think the Wii U will get a price drop, probably similar to the GameCube (within about 6 months), after they have made some profit on it during the holidays.

    As for me, I’m still waiting for Nintendo to address other issues with the Wii U system, but as of now it will be a day one purchase (which hasn’t happened since the GameCube).

    • http://twitter.com/MiniFortress Mini Fortress

      I’ve seen it first hand at a GameStop one day. A mother was asking for Mario on the X-Box 360. She argued black and blue that her son told her Mario was on the console and the employee was wrong.

      I’m sure it will actually. Anticipating a shortage of Wii U consoles and bringing a new PS3 model to market is a good move for Sony. It might be awhile before we see their next console, so keeping their name in the market this way is a great idea.

      I wish it had a Blu-Ray, even a DVD player. I get what Nintendo is saying, but the convenience factor is almost too good to ignore imo.

      A Wii U price drop is pretty much inevitable. I also foresee a shortage going forward. There may be a few extras on hand to sell, but much like the Wii, mainly those that pre-order will get a console.

      Like yourself, I want to see more. I’ll eventually get one, but I want info on the online and social features, more info on the digital shop, etc.

      • http://coffeewithgames.com/ coffeewithgames


        A Wii U price drop is pretty much inevitable. I also foresee a shortage going forward. There may be a few extras on hand to sell, but much like the Wii, mainly those that pre-order will get a console.”

        I’m actually not really sure of the shortage, as I think that will greatly be determined by marketing and more importantly word-of-mouth. Some sites still have the Basic Set available for pre-order, which I don’t think is a good thing (for Nintendo) considering it’s been basically a week now.

        As for the mother arguing, that’s why every retail employee should have a smart-phone of some sort, to be able to quickly show these people why they are wrong, and what to buy to fix it. Also, they can use the smart-phone to call and let her son know his information was incorrect as well…and that if he wants to play Mario on a console, he gets the Wii…

        Two problems solved with one phone.

  • dkanddiddy

    “Reasons for this perception could include Nintendo’s characters, lack of willingness to go HD, or improving their online approach. Though, realistically, none of that can be said this time around. Wii U supports 1080p, has mature third party games coming, and promises an innovative social network and improved online services”
    ———————————————————————————
    I think this might be the Nintendo system that actually resonates with “hardcore” gamers. There’s so many great third party titles that even PS3/Xbox fanboys will at least try the system.

    • http://twitter.com/MiniFortress Mini Fortress

      I agree, this is a huge opportunity for Nintendo to show the “hardcore” that they are serious about third party titles going forward. ZombiU, Rayman Legends, Bayonetta 2, New Super Mario Bros U, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, heck even Ninja Gaiden 3. They can’t lose third party support this time around.